Everyday Heroism

In 1901, John J. Comisky, a New Jersey letter carrier walking his route, saw a 12-year old boy struggling for his life in the Passaic River. Comisky jumped into the river, brought the boy to shore, then continued delivering mail in his dripping-wet uniform.

In 1927, Charles M. Taylor, a railway mail clerk in St. Louis, pulled six women and children from a wrecked, submerged Pullman car.

In 1928, Paul F. Collins, an airmail pilot, tightly circled his plane around a burning house late in the evening of February 10, until the plane’s buzzing sounds woke up the family of eight inside, who escaped the fire.

A Boston letter carrier, Daniel M. Long, leaped from Harvard Bridge to save a drowning man in 1930.

From 18th century post riders who carried and protected the mail to injured airmail pilots in the early 20th century who pulled mail from crashed planes and carried it over mountains to safety, when needed, postal employees have risen to whatever levels are required to serve, and sometimes save, their customers.

In 1982, the National Association of Letter Carriers and the Postal Service formalized a long tradition of watching out for their customers when they established the Carrier Alert Program. Customers could register for the program, and letter carriers would report any suspicious incidents or accumulations of mail that might indicate the customer was unable to collect his or her mail because of illness or injury.

Every year, hundreds of postal employees are recognized as heroes, sometimes risking their own lives to save others in their community.